“Are you still watching?”
Of course I am, Netflix. How else am I supposed to keep my mind off the fact that I just ate seven-eighths of a Boston Cream cake?
I may have thought those exact words during a “spiritual funk” in the past. I’m sure we’ve all been there, streaming and snacking and wondering why God feels farther away. Maybe for you, like me, that has looked like more Netflix episodes than Bible verses. Maybe it looks like ice cream “pinting” instead of praying. Maybe it looks like short, compulsory moments with the Lord. Dear God, thank you for this day. Bless this food…traveling mercies…something about forgiveness….Amen. Or maybe your life doesn’t look all that different, but your relationship with God feels distant and dry.
Rather than turning to comfort or snacking or bolstering up your busyness, you can sit and rest. You can remember and remind yourself of what you have and who you are and the inheritance that is yours through Christ.
When God feels far away, remember.
Remember the Gospel
In a post on Desiring God, there is a great quote from Paul Tripp as he encourages us to preach the gospel to ourselves: “No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do.”
When we are spiritually weak, the concept might sound weird, like reciting worn-out words. Why am I going to preach something to myself that I already know?
Because it’s life or death. It’s hope or hopelessness. It’s that important. Our joy is hanging on the gospel—on whether or not we believe it. If we believe but forget how much it means to us, we can easily go from people full of hope to people who know a lot of Bible verses, but live like none of them are true.
Jesus died for you. Jesus rose so you can, too. Jesus lives and lives in you. Remember.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:24-25
Don’t retreat. Remember what He’s already done.
Remember Your Miracles
You have already lived the miracles of God. Remember what you used to be like—not just before He saved you, but last year. Remember. You forgot His goodness way back when, and started chasing other things. Remember when you were wondering and when you felt so defeated and He reminded you again—like He had before, but in a new way—that He’s had His hand in everything, all along.
Remember when He parted the seas of your unemployment. Remember when He defeated the giant that was your besetting sin. Remember when He broke the loaves and fish in your family trauma and there were baskets of joy left over. Whatever it is, wherever He has been, remember. I don’t know you, but if you are Christ’s, you are a walking miracle. Remember.
Reflecting on and talking about the most significant events in our lives is important because it keeps our heads thankful and our hearts soft. It reminds us of our grace-colored past and our impossibly hope-fueled future.
Remember the Future
No matter how you feel or how long it’s been since God felt active in your life, He is, as He says in His Word, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Whatever it is that is pushing you toward “pinting,” keeping you from the joy of your salvation, whether it be sin or relational strain or even just the drudgery of everyday life, you have to remember that this isn’t it.
We have, waiting for us, “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).
We forget the joy of our salvation when we forget its final fulfillment. Jesus and His goodness are unending and unbending, and we will have it more deeply and more completely than we can possibly understand.
So today, stop to remember the cross, your miraculous past, and your ridiculous future. Boston Cream can’t compete with that.
Brandon Hiltibidal is a former church planter and multi-site pastor, and he is now part of the Groups Ministry team at LifeWay Christian Resources. He and his wife Scarlet have three little girls and lead a community group at The Bridge Church in Spring Hill, TN.